Many times you may want to design something that requires some modicum of atristic drawing or painting talent. I found that I often need to draw a design and then paint it as our grandkids are always wanting me to make some prop for them for the Haunted Forest. Since I have absoultely no artistic talent at all I found that I could do a reasonable job by using a technique I learned in stage design class in college called "Triangulation". It is very simple to do.
This project will be a Scoody Doo character that will eventually hold a real kerosene lantern in one of the trails of the haunted forest.
NOTE: Many designs are copyrighted so you must use caution when copying these images. In my case, the haunted forest is not a commercial haunt, I do not charge anyone to come, and I do not make any profit from the haunt. Therefore I feel confortable in using cartoon images in the haunted forest.
Pair of saw horses
Saber saw or roto zip saw
Straight edge (preferably a metal 5' ruler)
Measuring tape ( at least 8' )
Paint roller with at least two disposable rollers.
Disposable paint roller pan
1 - sheet of 4' x 8' x 1/2" plywood (should be failry smooth on one side.)
1 gallon of flat black paint (there will be enough left over for several other projects)
1 gallon of flat white paint (there will be enough left over for several other projects)
1 - Roll of brown construction paper or white butcher's paper (You will have lots for several projects leftover)
1 - Roll of 1" masking tape or painter's tape
Set of cheap artist brushes ( $5.00 at WalMart)
Several bottles of acrylic artist craft paint $2.00 at WalMart)
Black sharpie pen
First, make a copy of the design you wish to reproduce on a sheet of paper. You can print the design off the internet or use a copy machine to do this. Mark a grid of equal distant squares on this paper copy. I usually use 1" x 1" squares.
Now lay a large sheet of paper on a work surface and tape it down using masking tape or painters tape. The work surface I use is the 4' x 8' plywood that will become the final character. I usually use brown, construction paper that comes in rolls and is used to cover floors when doing remodeling or new building construction. The paper comes in 3' wide rolls so I normally have to tape two pieces together when making props over 3' in one dimention. You can also use white butcher's paper that also comes in large rolls. Mark a grid on on the paper of equal distant squares. I usually do squares of 6" x 6". Be sure to mark off at least as many squares on your workpiece as you did on the original deisgn you are copying. You can make your finished character as large as you wish. Just remember the ratio of the size of these squares as related to the size of the squares in your original design determine the size the final product will be. For example: if your original is marked off in 1" x 1" squares and your workpiece paper is marked off in 6" x 6" squares the final product will be six times larger than the original design.
Now it is just a simple process of transfering the lines that are in one square of the original design to the same square on the larger work piece paper. You will work doing only one square at a time until the entire design has been transferred to the larger work piece paper. Begin by use a pencil in the event you make a mistake and you have to erase a line of the drawn design.
Once you have copied all of the design onto the new work piece paper and you are happy with the results, take a black sharpie pen and go over all the lines of the design. This will make the design easier to see when you are copying it to the plywood.
.Now to transfer the final design onto the new plywood workpiece.
Start by laying a 4' x 8' piece of 1/2" plywood on sawhorses. This will become your workstation and will be where the final design will be transfered to. Using the paint roller paint both sides of this plywood. The smoothest side should be painted flat white and the rougher side painted flat black. You may wish to apply two coats of paint to each side. This will give the wood a primer coat of paint to accept the final painted design and will also serve to provide a bright surface that will allow you to easily see your transfered design when you paint it. I use latex paint. This can be either exterior or interior latex. The interior paint is less expensive. Your final design will be transfered to the white painted side of the plywood.
After the primer coat of paint has dried place one large sheet or several 8 1/2" x 11" sheets of carbon paper on the plywood. You will need enough carbon paper to cover the entire design you are transfering.
Lay the brown paper drawing of your final design on the plywood, over the carbon paper. You will be making a carbon copy of the final design onto the plywood.
Note: If you wish you can mark grids directly on the plywood after painting with the initial white coat and transfer the design directly onto the plywood without using the construction paper and carbon paper. I transfer the design to the paper first so I will have this for later use in case the prop gets damaged or destroyed and I want to make another one.
Tape the brown paper design in place on the plywood so it will not shift during the transfer to the plywood.
Using a pencil carefully trace the design on this paper with enought pressure to transfer the design to the plywood through the carbon paper. Be sure to trace all parts of the design.
Carefully remove the brown paper design and the carbon paper.
The design should now be transfered to the plywood.
Using a black sharpie pen go over the entire design on the plywood. Once this is done you may wish to take a thin artists lining brush and carefully go over the lines with black acrylic paint. This paint can be purchased in the craft department at WalMart for about $2.00 per bottle in a variety of colors. This is the also the type of paint that I use to paint the rest of the character. It spreads easily, will go a long way, and is very durable even though my characters are placed outside in the haunted forest.
Once you have traced the design with the sharpie pen and/or the artist brush you can cut out the character with a saber saw or other type of appropriate cutting tool.
After cutting out the character paint the character in the colors you desire for that particular design. Here is the finished Scooby-Doo. In this case I used brown for the body, black for the spots, pink inside the ears, red for the tongue, blue for the colar, and yellow for the collar tag. The white parts were already painted as this was done by painting the plywood piece before transfering the drawing.
Since I do not have a photo of the painting process on the Scooby-Doo character the photo below shows how the design looked on a dragon project. This will be just like coloring in a coloring book. Stay within the lines.
Once you have finished painting the character you can spray it with a fixative and it is ready to put in your haunt. Here is a photo of the finished fire breathing dragon in his place in the haunted forest.. You might notice that it is actually breathing real fire. I do not recommend this as you might burn down the haunted forest. However, ours is not a haunt open to the public but only for family and friends and the dragon was was placed well off the trails and protected by several barriers. Also, there was adult supervision all around.
One final note: It is pretty easy to animate your characters as well. Here is an 8' friendly Frankenstein's Monster I made using this technique. He holds a piece of paper that you can put a message on and he waves to people arriving using a wiper motor and a 12 volt garden tractor battery and a cheap motor controller that slows the motor to about 5-6 rpm.